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Tim Burton's Batman also known as Batman 1989, is a 1989 superhero film directed by Tim Burton based on the Batman character of DC Comics. It is the first of a trilogy, followed by Batman Returns and Batman Forever.

Plot

Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) is a millionaire philanthropist and playboy but is also the secret alter ego of Gotham's dark knight; the Batman. When he was a child, Bruce witnessed the murder of his parents at the hands of a lowly street thug who was never caught. Since that day, he swore to take on crime in the godforsaken city, no matter the cost. Operating from his secret lair, the Batcave, and with the help of his loyal butler and guardian Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough), he is one of the few men left standing against crime in Gotham; the only others being police sergeant James Gordon (Pat Hingle) and the new district attorney Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones).

During a party, Bruce is introduced to reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) who is investigating the legend of Batman. Bruce takes a liking to Vicki and manages to ask her out on a date before he is summoned by Alfred, who reveals to him that there is trouble at the local Axis Chemical Factory.

Gotham kingpin Carl Grisson (Jack Palance) has learned, to his shock, that his own mistress, Alicia Hunt, is having an affair with his right hand man, Jack Napier. He sends Napier to raid the factory but then sends the corrupt detective Arnold Flass (Max Hootkins) to catch Napier. Gordon, also at Bruce Wayne's party, learns of the trouble and heads after Flass.

Once he realises that he has been betrayed, Napier shoots Flass dead and a shootout begins between him and Gordon, although Batman intervenes and saves Gordon. Napier tries to shoot Batman but the hero uses his steel enforced gauntlets to deflect the bullet back at Napier, who dodges it but it breaks a valve, causing acid to spray all over Napier's face. Napier then takes a fall into a chemical vat, but not before Batman looks into his eyes and recognizes him as the man who killed his parents.

Although presumed dead, Napier actually survives but his skin has been bleached white, his lips red and his hair green. Dressing in a colourful suit, he returns to Grissom, who is suitably shocked that Napier survived. Napier tells him "no hard feelings" and offers him a cigar which he says stands as a peace offering. When Grissom smokes the cigar, it turns out to be an exploding cigar and it kills him. Napier, using the alias of the Joker, then takes control of his criminal empire, eliminating other mob bosses who stand in his way.

Using the chemical factory, the Joker creates a deadly new weapon which he calls Smilex; he chemically alters everyday hygiene products, which causes those using a certain combination to laugh to death. He soon has the entire city at his mercy. Meanwhile, Batman soons realises that Napier is the Joker and his parents murderer is still alive.

Meanwhile, Vicki has been pursuing her investigation and has figured out that Bruce is Batman, but agrees not to make the information public. They plan to be together, but Bruce informs her that first he must defeat the Joker.

During the annual parade through Gotham's streets, the Joker creates a distraction for the police at the chemical factory, which Batman then destroys. However, the Joker has meanwhile taken control of the parade and lures the citizens to him by dispensing money, but in actuality plans to burst the balloons which contain a deadly laughing gas. Batman arrives just in time and uses the Batwing to loosen the balloons moorings, causing them to float away. In the chaos, the Joker takes Vicki and drags her into Gotham Cathedral, while Batman and Gordon clear off the thugs remaining on the parade float.

With the police surrounding the cathedral on the ground, Batman follows the Joker to the spire and confronts him. After a brutal fight, the Joker's escape chopper arrives and Batman and Vicki and knocked over the edge, leaving them dangling. Batman manages to shoot a grappling hook into the chopper's rotary blades, causing it to lose control and crash into a large gargoyle statue, exploding upon impact. The Joker and his men perish in the fireball. Having realised how close the Joker came to taking Vicki from him, Bruce tells her that for her own safety they can't pursue a relationship. Vicki is saddened but knows he is right and agrees.

Police commissioner Gillian B. Loeb (Christopher Walken) promotes Gordon to lieutenant for his work on the Joker case, before Gordon unveils the Bat Signal. Harvey Dent reads a letter from Batman, promising that he will always defend Gotham.

Cast

Michael Keaton - Bruce Wayne/Batman

Michael Gough - Alfred Pennyworth

Pat Hingle - Sergeant James Gordon

Kim Basinger - Vicki Vale

Tommy Lee Jones - Harvey Dent

Jack Nicholson - Jack Napier/The Joker

Jack Palance - Carl Grissom

Christopher Walken - Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb

Max Hootkins - Lieutenant Arnold Flass

Jerry Hall as Alicia Hunt

Sequels

The film was followed by Batman Returns and Batman Forever and Batman and Robin

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